Showrunner Talks About Universe-Changing Decision At Heart Of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery

After a week of teasing, the new Entertainment Weekly article on Star Trek: Discovery is now on newsstands. Much of the key highlights from the 2-page spread, including two new images, have been released online already. However, there is one section yet to be put online, which talks about the show’s story and how Michael Burnham’s journey gets to the heart of the show. 

Showrunner Aaaron Harberts explains a key moment and why the show’s focus character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) has been described as an officer on the USS Discovery but is seen serving on the USS Shenzhou in the trailer released in May.

Sarek [James Frain] plays an important role in her life, which has been completely planned until she makes a very difficult choice that sends her life on a very different path. When we meet her, she’s the first officer on the starship Shenzhou. And Burnham’s choice that we’re alluding to is the most difficult choice you can make – it affects her, affects Starfleet, affects the Federation; it affects the entire universe. That choice leads her to a different ship, the USS Discovery and there we begin what [co-showrunner] Gretchen [Berg] and I call our second pilot.

This talk of a decision that affects the universe may set off a red alert (or at least yellow alert) for those wondering how Star Trek: Discovery fits with the rest of Trek canon.

Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham makes a big decision in Star Trek: Discovery

Harberts expanded a bit on having a first officer as the show’s lead saying…

The advantage of her not being in charge of the bridge right now is we get to tell stories from a very different point of view. It’s a fresh feeling because we’re not on the bridge all the time. We get access to more parts of the ship.

His comment about Burnham not being captain “right now” is certainly interesting. As noted in a TrekMovie editorial last month, it was original showrunner Bryan Fuller’s long goal to tell a ‘lower decks’ story in Star Trek, but without him involved anymore it is possible the show may evolve into the more standard Star Trek with the lead being the captain.

Captain Gabriel Lorca is in charge of the bridge of the USS Discovery for now

Not using Roddenberry’s rule of no crew conflict

Another thing discussed in the EW article (and also previewed online) is how the show will fit with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a future and mainly conflict-free Federation. This was another issue discussed in that editorial last month noting it appeared Discovery was not sticking to the more TNG-era rule of avoiding conflict within the crew. Harberts confirmed this was the case and noted how the more serialized nature of the show requires them to provide dramatic conflict…

We’re trying to do stories that are complicated, with characters with strong points of view and strong passions. People have to make mistakes – mistakes are still going to be made in the future…The thing we’re taking from Roddenberry is how we solve those conflicts. So we do have our characters in conflict, we do have them struggling with each other, but it’s about how they find a solution and work through their problems.

As noted in the online preview, having dramatic conflict within a cast is pretty much a given for modern TV shows, especially the more premium type of shows that Discovery aspires to be like. As for Roddenberry’s rule, this is mostly something that was applied to his vision of the 24th century TV shows. There was often conflict within the crew on the original Star Trek, set a century earlier.  

Discovery embraces conflict

Entertainment Weekly with Discovery feature available today

EW has previously teased out quotes on the showrunners on the show’s delay and Sonequa Martin-Green on her “vuclan struggle” and her reaction to complaints Discovery’s over diversity. They also gave us our first look at Jason Isaac’s as Captain Lorca of the USS Discovery and a transporter room on the USS Shenzhou.  link

You can now pick up the issue with the Star Trek: Discovery feature on newsstands or buy it online.

Star Trek: Discovery featured in new issue of EW

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.



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I speculate that Burnham makes a decision she thinks is right, leading to the destruction of the Shenshou. perhaps as the only surviving member of that incident, rather then be kicked out of the fleet, she is assigned to Discovery where she has to face the guilt over her decision. Maybe…?

And no wonder Sarek was so pissy when Spock joined Star Fleet. He had already had one protege do the same. lol


A plausible scenario.

Then you have this weird comment about her choice:

“it affects her, affects Starfleet, affects the Federation; it affects the entire universe.”

What possible action taken by one individual could affects “the entire universe”?

They keep saying universe, but they surely mean galaxy. The hyperbole of CBS marketing seems to have crept into to their brains ;-)

The thing I don’t get about that is that “affects the entire galaxy” sounds almost MORE dramatic. Something about the timbre and rhythm of the word works a lot better.

@Matt Wright,

Lol, guess we should thankful they didn’t say it affects the multiverse!

Apologies for being a bit cryptic, but I’ve come across some DSC information that is leading me to think that a multiverse may be exactly what they have in store, and what fans have always considered Prime is going out the window. Individuals may not be bothered at all by that, but I’ve been watching and reading lots of people analyzing photos, and searching for ways to integrate this to their worldview of the Prime timeline. I can’t help but think of how hurt those fans will be if something like that takes them by surprise.

And this is the sort of “trivial” nitpick that some people like to criticize. But, if you’re making a show called “Star Trek,” based upon the most famous science fiction TV show of all time———a show famous for how it inspired countless real scientists to pursue their careers———you should have a basic, working knowledge of at least the most simple scientific facts that directly pertain to your show. Even George Lucas, in making what many people classify as not science fiction (but, rather, fantasy) was conscientious enough to note that his drama was limited to one galaxy.

Didn’t exactly know what a ‘parsec’ was, though.

In the trailer Burnham urges to attack the klingon first. Maybe this caused a new war or she violated the prime directive somehow by intefering with inner klingon affairs. We can only speculate about THESE “new” klingons but maybe they ar a sect, outlaws or something like that.

Perhaps her actions is what starts the war with the Klingons. Which would be a nice retcon of the silly “first contact was disastrous” thing from Enterprise.

That was my initial thought as well. Her rash decision could be was sets in motion the events that lead to a Federation/Klingon war.

Actually, it was the Star Trek: TNG “First Contact” where “first contact was disastrous” was canonized by Picard.

Yes, but it was Enterprises pilot that showed us this First Contact and it was hardly as disastrous as it was made out to be.

It’s not really universe shattering when they been ignoring that rule since GR’s been… oh, deceased?

~Pensive’s Wetness

@The PW,


Well, there is no action, no tension, no drama without a conflict. It was believable from the 60s to the 80s in a lot of tv-shows, but then it started to change. DS9 went this way, Voyager mostly didn’t (or only in a few episodes like “equinox”). Battlestar Galactica showed how to do it and was how I would have expected Voyager. Voyager did have a lot of great single episodes but at the end of each episode all were happy and friends again and in the next episode the ship looked like new, which was not believable. They should have made a whole season like “year of hell”.
You can’t bring a tv-show today in that style.

I like the idea of a “lower decks” centered show. But to do that I kinda sorta think the center character needs to be lower than the first officer. Or any permanent bridge crew member. To do that, you could have a group of shipmates from different departments on the ship who have bonded somehow. Perhaps they can be replacement bridge crew but for the most part do their jobs below decks. It would take some real clever writing to keep the focus on them, however. Because this show is first officer centered I would figure it will run very much like the other shows. Command Crew-centric.

I don’t think they ever said this would be specifically about lower decks style “cadets” just that the show would have a singular lead, and be less of an ensemble, and that said lead would NOT be the captain. While it may still be command centric, I think the purpose is to have a lead that has to follow orders she disagrees with rather than giving the orders herself.

At the same time, in any good story you need the lead characters to be affecting the story directly, driving the plot forward with their own actions. As first officer Burnham can do that, because she is still in a command role, even if she’s not the final decision maker (but it looks like she will be at some point). A cast of ensigns and lower ranked officers will not be able to directly affect the story they’re trying to tell.

So if they wanted to tell deep personal stories about crew aboard a ship, I think a “Lower Decks” style cast would work REALLY well; because they wanted to tell a story about the broader galaxy, relations between humans and Klingons, Vulcans, the Federation, Starfleet, etc, their lead cast needed to be commanders.

The lower decks thing was a bit of subtext I read into what was written. Making the show first officer-centric I just don’t see as a “different point of view.” The first officer is often heavily involved in nearly everything.


Indeed. Spock, Riker, Nerys, Chakotay & T’Pol were all first officers in the various series and were obviously involved in command decisions.

Additionally, Fuller and others had said that part of the story would be in seeing this lieutenant lead character rise through the ranks (or just one rank, even).

We’ve rarely seen a story that centered around actions that directly lead to promotion. Most times we’ve seen a main cast member get a raise in rank it was due a character death (Worf replacing Yar), or the producers simply handing it to them because the show needed to give the character more to do (Geordi, Sisko).

It will be interesting to see if Burnham earns this promotion in the course of the show through her direct actions.

@ Torchwood – I agree!

Yeah the “lower decks” angle is a little over stated. An actual lower decks based show could be awesome. Even if it wasn’t entire focused on that, incorporating it more, the way the Battlestar Galactica reboot did would likely lead to a lot of interesting material.

Think about the number of times Riker just walked off to the turbolift or wasn’t on duty or was down in engineering working with LaForge and others or in another area of the ship but we just didn’t see him. There’s a lot that can be told from the perspective of the first officer instead of just dealing with one or two episodes where you focus on him or her.

My interpretation of the no-conflict rule has always been that good people with the same goals would still disagree on how to achieve those goals and hold spirited debates on it while giving each other just enough of a benefit of the doubt not to let it destroy relationships. Even if this show says it will break that no-conflict rule, it remains to be seen if it will break my take on it. I kind of hope they don’t, because we need reason now more than ever.

The thing is, Roddenberry never said there should be “no conflict” between the crew. I don’t know why people insist otherwise and claim he wanted some kind of love-fest of “perfect humans” because he believed future people would be 100% happy all the time. Look at Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was as Roddenberry-driven as it gets, and tell me if there was any “conflict” between Decker and Kirk. Of course there was!!! What Roddenberry DIDN’T want on Star Trek is ridiculous soap opera storylines about so-and-so crew member betraying another and Admirals engaged in some political melodrama. Star Trek is about exploring the human condition WHILE EXPLORING SPACE. Learning the unknown and resolving things they discover out there SHOULD be the focus, not petty in-fighting between the crew.

That’s not how understood it. I was always under the impression that he wanted there to be no arguments in the 24th century…The Motion Picture was nearly a century earlier.

You must have hated DS9. Look, Star Trek has ALWAYS been about drama, and Roddenberry had a few bad ideas during TNG. Thankfully this didn’t come to pass.

I keep saying this, but the show explores the galaxy from time to time, most of the time even…but that’s not what the franchise is all about…as you said…it’s thr human condition…

Nothing is more human than human drama, character flaws and so forth.

“Hide & Q” was a first season TNG episode that was as Roddenberry driven as it gets, and the teleplay was co-written by Gene Roddenberry himself. Go back and watch it, then tell me there wasn’t any “conflict” or arguments between Picard and Riker in that one. I guess Gene Roddenberry broke his own “rule” about “perfect humans”, right? Or could it just be that there was never any “rule” from Gene Roddenberry that the crew members would never debate with each other?

Loving all the press and excitement– a new Trek article every day? It’s been a long time!

Yes! A person could get used to this. :-)

“I should like this film, but I don’t. Ever since J.J. Abrams ‘rebooted’ the franchise, creating an alternate timeline outside Star Trek canon, Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry’s essential ethos has been more set dressing than central theme. For me, this ethos has always been one of transcendence, a vision of humanity’s future beyond the petty conflicts we presently use to define our existence.

Gene’s vision has, at times, proven difficult for Star Trek writers to embrace. It doesn’t fit into a western narrative structure defined by conflict:

Ok – so what kind of story would it be without the conflict? Would it be a story at all? English 101 instructs that a story has a beginning, middle, and an end. This is referred to as the three-act structure: Setup (exposition), Confrontation (conflict), and Resolution. Accordingly, the conflict moves the plot forward and fuels the reader’s interest. It is the central feature of the dramatic arc, building tension and leading to the climax of the story. Man against man, man against society, man against nature, man against self – this is our accepted model of narrative structure. No conflict – no story.

Star Trek boldly asks, what does a story look like that begins on the other side of this dramatic arc?”


It was a misguided rule. I’m glad they’ve decided to ditch it. TOS managed to be optimistic without making the people perfect.

Spock and McCoy had plenty of conflict, and an awful lot of fans LOVED that about TOS. Mr. Roddenberry was happy for there to be conflict in TOS; I think he was getting a bit caught up in his own hype by the time he made TNG. :-)

Could not agree more.

Seconded. And he was indulging in a lot of substances too, which is why his thinking on this was and is suspect.

Yeah it was always a stupid rule. Its funny neither writers or fans seem to think it was one that was ever needed and why they ditched it anyway. I can’t imagine what DS9 would be like if that rule stayed. Even by TNG it was gone by 4th season but the characters obviously just got along more by that point.

Might as well ignore Gene’s rule since they they are ignoring everything else. Star Trek in Name Only.

Are we basing that on the fact that the visuals don’t line up perfectly to canon? By that measure, TMP fails. TWOK fails. New uniforms! New Klingons! Khan’s a blond!

It’s extremely presumptuous to assume the values of STAR TREK don’t carry over to the new show.

“… that the visuals don’t line up perfectly to canon?”

This is an euphemism.

What else are they ‘ignoring’ other than not making the show look like it was made in 1967?

If you’re just talking about the visuals thats clearly not true since EVERY show has looked different from the other. This of course is different since its clearly a soft reboot but they all had changes.

So what else are you referring to?

I don’t read into the she’s not a captain “right now” comment as implying that the show will evolve into her becoming one. It’s certainly possible; after all, BSG showed characters moving up the ranks. But doing so would ditch the entire appeal of the show — that it doesn’t always take place on the bridge, isn’t about the CO. So they would be foolish to go that route. Maybe like way down the line, certainly not first season.

The “second pilot” notion is very intriguing to me. That just goes to show that a.) what we saw in the trailer really is just the prelude to the rest of the series, since it’s exclusively from the pilot, and b.) that the rest of the show stands to be very different from what the pilot is about. This almost seems like a fake-out ala STID with the whole initial story [he’s not Khan!!!] being just a cloak to throw off the audience. Maybe this whole second pilot thing is their way of showing us sneak peaks of DSC without actually revealing anything substantial about the show — like, ya know, the USS Discovery.

I’ve always thought the lack of conflict in crew members and the team mentality was fundamentally what made TNG the best Star Trek and made Enterprise not work. I’m optimistic and open minded but I think this is a very brave decision. Star Trek should always make you feel happy and optimistic for the general future. If it doesn’t it’s not Star Trek. Hopefully it will still do this!

I think of Marvel movies when I read your comment. They have plenty of conflict between characters, but somehow I always know they will work through it and that the future will be happy and optimistic. DC movies don’t do that for me, but Marvel does. I think this is the niche Trek needs to be in. Sure they bicker like Spock and McCoy and sometimes the arguments can be very nasty… but you know it will work out for the best in the end.

It all sounds very promising!

I feel like DS9 and Voyager did have conflict among the crew, they, like any organization were forced to tolerate one another. Think about it, How easily could Quark have been booted off the station? Odo hated him and was always looking for ways to have him arrested. Sisko was annoyed by him.

on Voyager, Tuvok hated Neelix, but again put up the vulcan shields and tolerated him because they had no choice. The Maquis detested Starfleet, some outright hated the fact they had to work together but again, they put their differences aside to work but the fact was there was conflict – just not shown upfront.

Wasn’t there an episode too where Bashir pissed everyone off, even Miles? I can’t think of it, but I remember that despite their friendship there were a few occasions where they weren’t on the same page. Oh right, Hippocratic Oath!

They did. Basically the writers ditched Roddenberry’s rule before those two shows were made but they said that Starfleet members would get along but non-Starfleet was a different story. Thats how come the Maquis were invented, basically humans who were in direct conflict of Federation law and principles and how that drama played out in all three shows, but obviously Voyager the most.

And yes it was always a given the aliens would have more conflict because they were aliens and just saw things differently. Kira, Odo and Quark on DS9 were also outside of Starfleet (for Quark waaaaaay outside Starfleet lol) and didn’t really believe in Starfleets basic ideals everyone can just get along if you play nice enough. Sisko and Kira butted heads all the time. What I loved about that relationship is they clearly didn’t like each other all that much in the beginning but then you start to see them have great affection for each other by mid-way of the series.

There was obviously tons of conflict between characters in Star Trek. That Roddenberry rule really only lasted the first few seasons of TNG and once Roddenberry was kicked to the curve they relaxed it more and more. Think of Shelby in Best of Both Worlds. Think of Ro Laren (who was suppose to go to DS9 but made a similar character out of Kira when the actress didn’t want to do it) who was a thorn in that crew’s side. Think of Captain Jellico in Chain of Command. Think of basically every freaking Admiral lol. So even with other Starfleet officers there was certainly conflict happening.

But even still, there were times when even the Starfleet folks didn’t always agree and came into conflict (on an episode by episode basis), like in Hippocratic Oath. And remember, Maquis are former Starfleet, so I feel like if Gene had been around he would have nixed that whole idea!

As I see it, Berman couldn’t hold to that edict long after Roddenberry passed, and the writers found ways to create conflict while still being a peaceful family.

and that’s sort of why i disagreed with his edit even on a fantasy level: even in a peaceful families, siblings have disagreements, even in a system where everyone gets along we can have vigorous debates.

I think the “rogue Starfleet” was used one too many times though: Captain Maxwell, Admiral Layton, Admiral Pressman, Admiral Cartwright, Admiral Dougherty, the list goes on an on, it sort of became trite.

I know, I’m agreeing with you. I guess you din’t read my last paragraph but I gave direct examples of Starfleet characters having conflict with each other, specifically on TNG. The show STARTED with less conflict but basically dropped by 3rd season. Picard butted heads with so many people in Starfleet they could’ve charged the guy for insubordination lol. DS9 and Voyager just came up with premises that wiped out that rule from the start. And on DS9 the conflict only increased once the whole Dominion arc started.

As for Maquis, sure some of them were former officers like Chakotay, Eddington and Laren but the conflicts started with just basic colonists living near the Cardassia border. They were the ones who really started the fight. All the ones we saw are basically people who left Starfleet to join their cause. Even Tom Riker got in on the action. I always wanted to see a follow up to his and Ro Laren’s stories.

As for the rogue Starfleet officer, thats just Star Trek tradition lol. Admiral Marcus was the latest to hold up that fine honor. I agree with you they probably do it too often but I actually love those stories. They are a lot of fun to watch and I guess they do them so much because its a way to show how Starfleet or Federation values can be in conflict with itself.

Actually that’s one of the things they didn’t do at all on Enterprise. Obviously Starfleet was just in its infancy at the time but I can’t recall an admiral going over someone’s head or set up some devious plan. Maybe I’m forgetting someone but the the only rogue officer we got was Reed for an episode and he was acting under orders from Section 31.

Its funny how some are assuming Captain Lorca or the new Admiral on Discovery may secretly be bad on the show. We never had a bad woman Admiral for some reason, another barrier Discovery can break. I don’t think she will be but you never know.

Sorry, the rest of your post was hidden on my phone!

Ro Laren/Tom Riker slash fiction time! They’d have made a great couple.

As for the Maquis specifically, I have a feeling Gene Roddenberry would never have allowed it to exist with ex-Starfleet. The very thought that our disciplined, progressive, peaceful heroes would form a terrorist group?! NOT IN GENE RODDENBERRY’S 24th CENTURY EUTOPIA!

In HIS vision of the future, Starfleet would have sat down at the table with the colonists and figured out a peaceful solution. In his mind, I’m sure the only Starfleet officer’s who’d ever break their oath were under an alien influence!

No its no way ex-Starfleet would act like that in Roddenberry’s Trek. And I don’t think its ‘bad’ to want to see humans being better people, thats what Trek is about, but if you make them infallible it just becomes boring. I even look at Sisko himself. I don’t know if Roddenberry would’ve liked him as a Captain because he did cross the line a few times. Kirk broke (or mended) the Prime Directive a few times but he never went against Federation values. Sisko is a guy who poisoned a planet to get one of those ex-Starfleet terrorists. He also kept quiet about a Romulan diplomat being killed so he can manipulate them to joining the war. But this is why I loved Sisko lol.

And whats funny to me is every time people say how ‘bland’ and ‘boring’ the 24th century Trek is, I’m like ‘what????’. The same 24th century where Section 31 lives and breathes? Where the Borg exists? Where admirals have tried to create a false flag to take control and militarize Earth? Where a full scale war happened? Nothing ever happened on those levels in TOS.

But for some reason, these people keep thinking about the first 3 seasons of TNG but then ignore the next decade of all the craziness that happened in that universe on all sides. And yes if Roddenberry was fully in charge through Voyager it would’ve been about as bland as we got in early TNG. Maybe things would have change to some extent but not to the level it did in DS9 and even Voyager.

It’s not necessarily the political landscape that’s bland (though I sort of think it is), it’s the technology and style. 20 years of new tech solutions in every other episode sort of wrote the franchise into a corner.

But that’s a discussion for another time.

Again I hear you but I seen all three Kelvin films, they basically did the same thing. Kirk came back through magic blood and they destroyed Nero using red matter. Kirk and Scotty got back on the Enterprise using transporter technology that can transport you on ships going warp speed. I just don’t think the time period itself matters, just the people who write for it end of the day. Believe me, I have a feeling they will be using lots of tech to get out of jams in Discovery too but we’ll see.

I have no issue with tech helping to solve problems, I just don’t enjoy when it becomes the solution to EVERY problem, because the writers got lazy. Or when they can’t think of an existing tech solution and just make up some new magic device or new kind of energy beam that can do whatever the plot requires (the magic blood is a good example).

Well yeah but that has nothing to do with the time period, its just writers who been writing for multiple Trek show for a decade and probably needed a break. The KT writers wrote 3 films and they automatically went to that too.

Whats funny is Joe Menosky who is writing Discovery now is one of those writers who did a lot of that stuff in Trek. He had his hand in 100 episodes of TNG, DS9 and Voyager. Of course it doesn’t mean he will write these stories that way but I wouldn’t be too shocked.

JUST the opposite though, everyone who read her novels seem to love Kirsten Beyer’s work on her Voyager stories and says she actually use very little tech solutions in then (and we know Voyager the show relied on it a lot). And she’s another principle writer on Discovery, which if true, is a good sign (never read a Star Trek novel in my life). But as I say, it goes to the writer, not the time period. And DS9 actually did them the least for the 24th century shows because, again, the writers on that show didn’t rely on that all the time (but definitely relied on it).

One of the reasons for that style of writing is the nature of the show: the pressure of pumping out 26 episodes per season– and for many years more than 50 between two series’– leads writers to taking narrative shortcuts to get scripts completed and onto the stage for filming. They don’t have the luxury of spending an extra few days reworking a script with a weak third act.

My hope is that with Netflix/CBSAA giving them lots of time to write and produce these episodes, with no hard deadline to make advertisers happy, and the lessened pressure from producing just 15 episodes, the writers have enough time to come up with the best possible scripts.

How easily could Quark have been booted off the station? Odo hated him and was always looking for ways to have him arrested. Sisko was annoyed by him.

The ironic thing is, Quark wanted to leave in the pilot episode anyway, but was thwarted by Sisko into staying because Nog got arrested for theft.

I never liked the revisionist idea that Star Trek should be kumbaya-in-space. There should be no physical conflict among the Federation/Starfleet but that doesn’t mean that a respectful conflict of ideas and beliefs doesn’t continue on. What Star Trek always showed was that you could respect differing beliefs without having to accuse those who disagree with you as racist/misogynist/sexist pigs or wanting to silence them with verbal or physical violence. Plenty of story lines there based off of events in contemporary society.

Funny how you managed to leave-off the other half of that ‘respect’ equation in your example. But no, you’re not biased at all.

Wrong Michael Hall. I did not. But thank you for proving my point.

The entire universe? Do this dude knows how vast Universe is, and in which part of our galaxy is Federation. Jerk…

Did you really just call someone a jerk because they are hinting to a story line you know nothing about? The internet.

@Ostasa — yes, the entire universe. “The Alternative Factor” was just such a story — if Kirk made the wrong decision with the two Lazarus, the ENTIRE UNIVERSE would have been destroyed.

Good point. But also look what happened in the Mirror Universe AND the Kelvin universe. Both of those universes got turned upside down based on one person and their decisions. Kirk talking MU Spock to go a different direction in that universe had lasting consequences that saw humans no longer having the power and being enslaved 100 years later in DS9. Nero’s anger at Prime Spock had him destroy the Kelvin and then Vulcan which radically changed the timeline of that universe forever.

These are probably the things they are hinting at. A decision she makes, intentional or not, that could have far sweeping changes to the Federation and affect other parts of the universe. Now it may NOT mean literally the entire universe, he could just mean the Star Trek universe in general but as your point showed yes it can actually be a decision affecting the actual universe.

Just saying, and not that it’d be of any interest, but one could certainly assume that the events which led to the separate Star Trek universes would indeed by a thing that had an affect on the universe.

@Unggoy — while true, I would not characterize as having an effect on both universes, unless they interact somehow. While the creation of the Kelvin universe for instance suffered greatly by decisions made there, I can’t fathom what, if anything would have been affected in the Prime universe, other than the loss of Spock and Nero, which may or may not have had any future significant impact on the entire Prime universe.

Frankly, I hope that whatever this incident is, that it has nothing to do with an alternate universe.

Actually, the “no conflict among the crew rule” was Roddenberry’s view of humanity in the TNG era, not TOS. So there’s nothing wrong with this pre-TOS series showing conflicts among the crew. See

God forbid that Burnham’s “decision” does something that puts her in an all new timeline. D`oh!

Hum. Conflict between crew members is a new thing? Spock/McCoy? Archer/T’Pol? Tucker/T’Pol? Others. Only TNG seems to be a crew on quaaludes…

Conflict defined Star Trek the 1960s. The soldier/doctor/priest triumvirate of Kirk, Spock and McCoy is a significant part of what made it so compelling. Roddenberry’s 1980s-era no-conflict ‘rules’ apply to one sequel show set over a century after Discovery, so they’re irrelevant.

Whenever I watch the trailer, I get the feeling that the desert scene is more like a dream sequence than anything else. With this new information, it seems even more reasonable to see it in that light.

Follow me here…

After she does a thing that is bad, very very bad, she sets off on a journey inside her own mind (welcome to the mind of a Vulcan?).

That is all.

I could be misremembering this, but I think I read somewhere Roddenberry specifically didn’t want “petty conflicts” among the crew. Other conflicts were welcome, like those concerning the issue of the week. Somehow this got misunderstood as a “no conflict at all” rule.

In all of their telling about DSC——”gritty,” “intelligent,” “complicated”——I still have absolutely no idea what the show is going to be like, whether I might like it or hate it… Because CBS hasn’t shown me anything yet. They could show with words, like a press release teaser highlighting some intriguing, compelling notes of an episode or two (it was done this way in the past). And, of course, they can show with audiovisual, which they’ll have to do at some point before the pilot airs. Given the way that the promotion has been for DSC, I’m not expecting any substantial press releases about the show. So, I’m pretty much just waiting for a substantial trailer. All of the rest of this stuff——what the uniforms look like, the ethnicities of the cast, etc….——it does nothing for me. I’m no closer to buying in to DSC today than I was a year ago. Because I have no idea what the show will be like.

Show is still 3 months away. They don’t have to tell us ANYTHING they don’t want to until it gets closer. TV shows aren’t movies, they usually don’t even start much advertising until a month or two before it premieres.

But because its Star Trek we know way more about this show than shows that will will be appearing a month from now.

Info is going to come. Clearly they have a strategy and releasing little by little now. Its better than not getting nothing which was the case just 6 weeks ago.

And if it does nothing for you, fine, it does plenty for a lot of us.


While what you’re saying is true in most cases, the issue when it comes to ‘Discovery’ is the frequent delays and the slow pace of the production.

In his interview with Collider on June 8 Alex Kurtzman revealed that they’re still shooting episode 5! This explain the split season since they won’t have enough episode to release.


Kurtzman didn’t want to talk too much about Trek this early—they’re currently shooting Episode 5 out of a total 15 for the first season

I’m not denying that. CLEARLY they are pretty far behind in production and thats probably a big reason we haven’t seen much. But in terms of what he was just asking like a press release of what the show is about and all of that, they could’ve released that long ago. They are just holding back until they get closer thats all. Notice how they are now doing things like talking about Burnham’s background or showing a picture of Captain Lorca, etc. I imagine they will be doing this for all the characters over the next few months. Nothing major but info on the characters, maybe a photo from the set, etc.

My only real point is this kind of stuff only happens with high profile shows to begin with although I guess with the internet and publicity is practically free we do get a lot more stuff from shows in general.


All I can do is react to what’s being put out. Whether or not 3 months ahead of time is too soon to give me an idea of what the show’s going to be like seems a rather arbitrary point. Each time I see an article about DSC, and it contains no substance and nothing worth mentioning, it does not inspire me about the show. That’s my honest reaction.

I have a strong suspicion they are deliberately holding a lot back due to important plot elements that would be revealed. Hopefully nothing as silly as “I am Khan” but important.

Isn’t that a good thing, Cygnus? In an era where movies are spoiled and given 10 trailers months before they release, and fans complain about seeing too much, isn’t it exciting to know so little?

Isn’t that a good thing?

Not if CBS’s goal is to motivate me to subscribe to All Access, or at least to get me excited and buzzing about the show. I’m a huge Trek fan, and when people mention that they’ve heard there’s a new Trek show coming out, all I can say is, “Yeah, I think it starts in September.” Because that’s about all I know that’s worth mentioning. Whereas if I were excited about the show, I’d be talking it up.

Is Akiva Goldsman still the showrunner for DSC? Are he and Aaron Harburts co-showrunners? I couldn’t help but notice that Akiva Goldsman is one of the writers of the latest TRANSFORMERS movie, which currently has a 16% critical rating at RT. I suppose it might not mean all that much, given that there are 5 writers to take the blame, and it’s a Michael Bay movie. But, it certainly does not inspire any confidence or any evoke excitement on my end. Yeah, yeah…haven’t seen the show yet, too soon to judge, waiting for the trailer, precious bodily fluids, yada yada….

Goldsman was basically a consulting producer for a bit (word is he moved on to other things now), he wasn’t ever a showrunner. Harberts and Berg are technically the showrunners, and Ted Sullivan seems to be their right-hand man writer/producer a bit like Bob Justman was on TOS.

Matt Wright

That’s the best news to come out about this show since it was announced. I’m surprised that it didn’t get more play. There’s no Ted Sullivan listed amongst the producers on the IMDB page, so I have no idea who he is, and that’s a good thing. Better a nobody than a somebody with an uninspiring body of work. I see that Harberts and Berg come as a pair. I enjoyed the first season of Revenge, and I don’t see any red flags (or should I say brown flags) on their resume, so good news there.

According to various sites (wikipedia, imdb, among others) Fuller & Kurtzman wrote the pilot, Fuller and Nick Meyer wrote the second episode, while the writing staff consists of Jesse Alexander, Kristen Beyer, Aron Eli Coleite, Joe Menosky, and Kemp Powers.

I’m sure Goldsman had some input, but he’s officially credited as an Executive Producer, and not much has been revealed about his involvement (and just for the record, Rod Roddenberry is also an Exec Producer).

EP’s responsibilites can range from being on set every day and contributing script notes, to doing very little (and sometimes even nothing). Some are given the job as a contractual obligation, like Stan Lee on Marvel movies, or Amy Pascal on the new Spider-Man (who negotiated a position as Exec Producer on the film in the deal with Marvel despite being fired from her role at Sony).

Not saying that Goldsman won’t have any input or won’t do any writing, but the truth is we have no idea what some people do on these shows on a day to day basis. For example, JJ Abrams was listed as an Exec Producer on LOST but in interviews often admitted to not knowing what was going on in the show from episode to episode, for example.


My understanding is that showrunner typically gets an executive producer title, but has a different role than top executive producer, who has more of a production/business role and less of a day-to-day creative role. On LOST, JJ Abrams was the top exec. He oversaw the entire product, but didn’t guide the creative direction of the show on a daily basis. From what I’ve read, JJ and Lindelof were brought in to re-work the original LOST pilot script, which was written by Jeff Lieber. JJ then hired Carlton Cuse to run the show along with Lindelof. And it was Cuse and Lindelof that were mainly responsible for the creative direction of the show throughout its run. I think that JJ had creative input, but it varied over the course of the series. Week to week, it was Cuse and Lindelof deciding how a polar bear got onto the island, what the hell the scary black thing was going to be, and so forth.

Actually for LOST Abrams really only contributed story ideas for the pilot and a few episodes in season 1. After that season he was EP in name only from that point on. He would know what is going on in the production he wouldn’t have much to do with it outside business stuff. His contribution story wise was basically over after first season. But IIRC he directed an episode later on during its run but that was it. It really was Cuse and Lindelof who ran the show and on both creative and business level.

All understood, I was simply trying to point out that being an “executive producer” can mean many things, from being on set every day, providing script notes and even writing episodes– all the way down to doing nothing at all.

So without knowing what role Goldsman is playing it’s hard to determine whether his involvement is a bad thing. And while he’s written plenty of stinkers, he’s also written films like A Beautiful Mind, A Time to Kill, and more than a dozen episodes of Fringe.

Alex Kurtzman directed The Mummy, which is getting lambasted in reviews. He didn’t need Michael Bay to make a bad movie (likely franchise-killing bad). Doesn’t mean Discovery will necessarily be bad, but it’s not confidence-inspiring.

On the other hand, Damon Lindelof hit an absolute home run with The Leftovers, despite some of his movie ideas not working out (Prometheus, anyone?).

It may be that some people are more suited to TV work.

And like many things people do, both Kurtzman and Goldman have done things that were good, and some things that were bad.

UH…DS9 had a lot of conflict between its characters….the best written of all Trek series. So with them saying Discovery will break new ground by not adhering to Gene’s rule of peaceful Federation….un…sorry…DS9 beat you to it.

I think the “no conflict” rule in Star Trek assumes that the officers on board a Starship is a professional one and each and every one of them achieved their position by being the best at what they do and following a chain of command and knowing fully well what their positions are within that hierarchy. To bicker with each other is unprofessional. Imagine a lower rank officer arguing with the decisions of the Captain. That may be conflict, but that’s just damned unprofessional. If there is to be conflict, it should be between the crew and outside elements.

There’s plenty of conflict in Star Trek. Conflict between Federation and Klingon. Klingon and Romulan. Vulcan and Andorian. Borg and everyone else.

Why do I have the feeling that this “conflict event” might involve Burnham maybe somehow either directly or indirectly being involved in the death of the captain of The Shenzhou. It will be a first in Star Trek if the first officer directly takes out the captain.

As far as the ‘no conflict rule’ goes, I believe it stems from a lack of understanding of how different kinds of conflict are formed/resolved. If Roddenberry truly intended Trek (at least from TNG onwards) to have no conflict amongst his human characters, then it seems a somewhat oversimplified and, dare I say it, childish attitude. Conflict doesn’t always come from a bad place or come with malicious intent. Sometimes thoughtful, well-meaning people will just have a difference of opinion and may have a heated debate or argument around the given subject/situation. Mature, intelligent people can have conflicting opinions but still get along, work together and achieve great things. It’s only people arrogant and naïve enough to think that only they can be right that allow conflicts to become personal and lead to fractured relationships with colleagues etc. I think THAT is the aspect of human nature that should be less so in the Star Trek future. Not that we don’t have conflict under any circumstances, but that conflicts can be settled and mutual understanding of one another can be achieved. I hope that this aspect is what’s shown at the forefront of Discovery.

Well. I am now speaking on side of realism not what a drama series needs.

It depends if you are talking about professional conflicts (different professional opinions) or personal conflicts.

I don’t think any company, military organisation or scientific labratory would allow personal conflicts to interfere with the duties of its employees. Deep Personal conflicts that are outlived are highly unlogical. Maybe they are transformed passive aggressive in denied promotions or less salary or more debutes on professional topics.

But a truely personal conflicts interfering with the duties as officer of any organisation would in real life result in being fired

“Universe changing decision” is a little dramatic isn’t it?

I don’t get all this talk about “no crew conflict” did these people ever watch an episode of TOS? Spock and McCoy went at it in nearly every episode. There was a ton of conflict between the crew… There were entire episodes built around it.

@ VOODOO – Yeah, it’s so strange that certain people seem to forget about the amount of ‘conflict’ that was played out in various TOS episodes. It really does make me wonder if these guys actually ever watched the original STAR TREK show, or just the ones that came after it!

Tempest in a teapot re “no conflict”. There was definitely conflict between Spock and McCoy at times. Sometimes funny, sometimes more serious. I think the idea is better put (my language not Roddneberry’s) by saying that humans have evolved into slightly better people. There would always be arguments, but I think Roddenberry wanted to show that humans would evolve into better versions of themselves as a species. He wasn’t turning humans into non-emotional Vulcans. I think you can show that and still have conflict. I remember him saying once in an interview that space aliens didn’t build the pyrmaids, humans did, because humans are amazing.

Roddenberry’s whole Utopian idea that humanity would evolve beyond conflict in the 100 years between TOS and TNG was just whacked. Not to mention, it made for some terribly boring hours of 24th century “adventures”…and I use that term VERY loosely. Human nature hasn’t changed in thousands of years…100 more sure isn’t going to tip the scales. I welcome the inner-crew conflict…I say shine that light on humanity, warts and all.

I sincerely hope that just because Fuller is now only a consultant they don’t stop talking to him. His ideas are left field, fresh and new. Don’t make Burnham the captain just for the sake of it. He never would.

An awfull actress.
And an awfull designed ship.
Discovery will be canceled not later than after season two.
Thank you Hollyweird for destroying Star Trek.

@Sue — right, Hollywood destroyed Star Trek, the fans bear no responsibility.

You’re welcome. Anything else I can destroy for you?

Well Hollyweird, there’s a rebooted Lost in Space coming down the pike…care to take a stab at that?

There has always been conflict in Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry’s utopian future was about an Earth without conflict. No war, no famine, no racism, no greed. Humanity was continuing to evolve beyond itself. The galaxy as a whole was not perfect but the civilization’s and situations encountered were often a reminder of who we were and how far we still had to go. “Errand of Mercy”, “By the Pale Moon Light”, “Equinox” and the list goes on.

She is responsible for the war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
The decision she makes leads to the destruction of the Shenzhou and the war. Therefore she is assigend to a ship with a brilliant tactician, Captain Lorca.

Good Guess, I like it!

A first officer is practically a captain already. There is really not a big difference. The first officer has huge responsibilities and works on the bridge. If they ever really wanted to tell a lower decks story, they have already abandoned that premise. Lower deck requires someone of lower rank, who mainly has to follow orders and is not giving them all the time. Ideally that character shouldn’t work all the time on the bridge, too. That would have been really a different point of view for a change. Stories, in which the point of view of a first officer is shown, are not exactly rare in Star Trek. Spock, Riker, etc. weren’t unimportant side characters after all.

Was the stupid GIF necessary?

It wouldn’t be surprising if Michael Burnham really does turn out to be responsible for unnecessarily collapsing Federation-Klingon relations and even starting a major war.

The “universe-changing” bit suggests there may be even more. Maybe that “Klingon sarcophagus” glimpsed in the trailer is actually Kahless in cryosleep. Maybe his revival is supposed to herald a new golden age for the Klingons, with the Empire transformed into a genuine force for good, eventually across the galaxy.

But Burnham’s “shoot first” decision causes a hibernating Kahless to be accidentally killed in the crossfire…which sends the Klingon Empire on a very different, considerably darker path. At least until Martok comes along a century later, but even then things aren’t the way they would’ve been under Kahless.

So if it’s something like that, Burnham’s actions do change the course of galactic history on a huge scale.

More: When Burnham is on her spacewalk in the trailer, you can see the Klingon ship emerging from something that looks very similar to the black hole/event horizon in “Interstellar”. Maybe the Klingons on the ship are either from the distant past or a parallel universe.

Either way, they could be shaven-headed and beardless because they’re the equivalent of Buddhism’s Shaolin warrior monks. The spread of early Buddhism also often involved sects acting as custodians of holy relics.

I can definitely buy the idea that this is the “canon” first contact with Klingons that ends disastrously.

The phrase “universe-changing” might not be literal. It could mean political. Starting a war with the Klingons would impact the Trek “universe”.

Wild speculation warning: could Michael Burnham be the “vulcan princess” who Sarek has Sybock with? I know everyone hates ST V, but it’s still canon that Spock has a long-lost half-brother. Phasers on kill!

@Trekmovie staff,

The GIF is slowing down the loading of the thread; you may want to consider replacing it with an image.

I read this article a while ago, but it’s still bothering me a lot.

I’ve always felt that it’s been exaggerated that Roddenberry didn’t let crew members have different perspectives or disagreements – so much of TOS is, after all, built around McCoy and Spock’s arguments, and while Roddenberry didn’t approve, the films do paint an Enterprise crew that can be divided (Final Frontier) and have human flaws (Undiscovered Country) There were also small conflicts in TNG and later series and films as well. There wasn’t an absence of conflict as much as there was less than other shows did.

I’m hoping this claim is just a part of marketing, a way of getting people to watch the show – look at us, we’re breaking rules. I don’t want the show to become hung up on having crew members argue with each other to be edgy. I always felt the lack of infighting among the crew was a successful way of illustrating the vision of a better humanity, not a denial of mankind’s natural instincts and behavior.

tl;dr good idea if they do it right, bad idea if they overdo it